HomeBad Ass AsiansAwkwafina Hosting Saturday Night Live is No Laughing Matter

Awkwafina Hosting Saturday Night Live is No Laughing Matter

 Views from the Edge

Asians can be crazy. Asians can be rich. Asians can be romantic. Apparently, the one thing Asians can’t be — at least In the eyes of Saturday Night Live — is funny.

That’s why the news that Awkwafina, the comedian/actress scene-stealer of Crazy Rich Asians, will be hosting SNL is so remarkable.

It has been 20 years since an Asian American woman hosted the satiric laden show. Back then, it was Lucy Liu, an actress, whose movie, a reboot of television’s Charlies’ Angels, had just been released.

Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, got her first break in 2012 with her viral hit “My Vag”a track she made while working at a vegan bodega for $9 an hour.

The actress is now riding high after playing Goh Peik Lin in Crazy Rich Asians, the runaway hit based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling book of the same name. The movie also stars Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding and Constance Wu, and is the first Hollywood film in 25 years to feature a contemporary, almost entirely Asian cast. It follows a Chinese American economics professor who struggles to make a good impression on her Singaporean boyfriend’s mega-wealthy and judgmental family.

In an interview with HuffPost last year, Awkwafina praised the actors and activists who are boosting Asians’ presence in Hollywood.

“With all the things that are happening, this is a woke time, and whether Hollywood likes it or not, they’re going to have to change things up,” she said.

Besdes Liu, past Asian SNL hosts have all been male, including Jackie Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Riz Ahmed, Aziz Ansari. and  Bruno Mars.

For its not-so-subtle liberal slant, it is odd that SNL doesn’t have a cast member of Asian descent. The lack of an Asian player has provided some embarrassing moments.

When Melissa Villasenor portrayed Elaine Quijano moderating a presidential debate, she said: “Hello. I’m the new Hispanic cast member, and I’ll be playing Asian moderator Elaine Quijano. Because …, baby steps.”
And when SNL writers create a Star Trek skit, which it has done periodically, they have to pull production designer Akira Yoshimura in front of the cameras to play the role of Mr. Sulu. He’s played that part four times.

It’s 2018 and still no Asian cast member on the popular variety show that has launched the careers of a host of actors. Every time Saturday Night Live holds auditions, there is always the call for the show to be more inclusive.

Apparently, Asians are not funny enough for Saturday Night Live. That’s a joke, but I’m not laughing.
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